Most hotel owners want to put sustainability at the top of the agenda, but with budget constraints and the ongoing effects of the pandemic putting more pressure than ever on the sector, it can be difficult to keep becoming greener as a top priority.

Big changes, the likes of solar energy and heat pumps instead of boilers can feel like a large project to tackle. And unfortunately, because the target seems way off and unreachable, very often the result is that nothing happens in the meantime.

But when it comes to the environment any change is positive. Far better to be ‘working towards’ than ‘doing it next week, month or year.’ That’s why having the knowledge of small changes that are easy to employ, can make a big difference.

With that in mind, here are some of the measures that hoteliers and owners could use to take steps towards a more sustainable future. And the added bonus? It could save you money and time too.

Swap paper towels for eco-dryers

Leading hand-dryer manufacturing firm, Airdri https://airdr, believes that a simple swap could be key to cutting costs and stopping tonnes of wastepaper towels from the hospitality sector entering landfill each year.  

“Most people don’t realise that paper towels cannot be recycled for hygiene reasons, so every one that is used ends up in landfill. Over the course of a year, that can really add up for hotels, and it’s not very economical either,” said Steve Whittall, operations director at the company which has just launched a new range of eco hand dryers.

“We conservatively estimate that a small hotel using paper towels only, would send around 484 kg of paper towels to landfill per year, that’s the equivalent of 22 single mattresses. That rises to 5588kg for a large hotel, equal to 254 single mattresses.

Steve continued: “When looking to invest in eco hand dryers, it’s important to note that there are several factors that contribute to making a hand dryer eco-friendly.

“It takes very little energy to dry one pair of hands. However, in public buildings where washrooms are used daily for eight, twelve or more hours, these energy usages can mount up to a substantial expense. Therefore, exceptional energy efficiency is paramount to ensuring an ecologically friendly dryer. At Airdri, our bespoke motors help achieve best-in-class energy efficiency, requiring only 200 watts of power to operate.

 “With the environment in mind, you also need to think about investing in hand dryers that are going to last for the long term. The term ‘buy once, buy well’ has never been more important, so ensure that you go for something that has been rigorously tested to ensure longevity.

Switch Toiletries to a Refillable Model

Miniature toiletries might be one of the favoured guest experiences when staying in a hotel, but if used then discarded the environmental impact of miniatures can soon add up. ARRAN Sense of Scotland (, which supplies its luxury bath and shower gels, shampoos and conditioners to numerous hotel partners has been working to address this issue.

Kevin Meechan, CEO at ARRAN Sense of Scotland said:“We are in the process of moving all our hotel partners away from the use of minis to a refillable model across their properties, with five-litre eco-friendly refills. This is reducing the virgin plastic consumption across our business by up to 81% so you can see there’s a huge impact here.

“On top of this, we’re also vetting and renewing partnerships with our suppliers to ensure they have the same goal of working towards more sustainable working practices. Our principal bottle supplier for instance, is committed to sourcing materials that can be readily recycled and is advancing its programme to move towards 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) material in all ARRAN Sense of Scotland bottles by 2022. We actively select our hotel partners who share our purpose to connect with nature and look after our natural environment.”

Digitalise access control

Digital ID ( is an access control and ID card specialist that supplies thousands of key cards to the hotel industry each year. To help address the environmental impact of that, the brand has been working towards more sustainable practises.

“We only print and issue sustainable photo ID cards to our customers,” begins Adam Bennett, “we’re making a conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint and help protect the planet from plastic pollution.

“As standard, our hotel key cards are made from 50% pre-consumer recycled PVC meaning hotels can lower sustainability levels without compromising on card quality or security. Each card has been made using recycled plastic materials that have been diverted from the waste stream, in essence giving the plastic a second life.”

Eventually, the digitalisation of the hotel key card system could completely do away with plastic waste from access control in the hotel and hospitality industry. Moving to mobile credentials would mean that the person’s mobile phone would be used in the same way as a key card, with access credentials being able to be managed in real time. Actually, a much more secure way of managing the system as permissions can be instantly revoked and there will be no more lost key cards.

Ask guests to sleep on it…(or under it)

Aside from automating light and heat levels and asking guests to reuse their towels (now fairly standard practise), there are also some soft furnishing swaps that can contribute towards going greener.

INFO from The Bedding Company………………………………………………………………………………………..

Working towards becoming more eco-friendly doesn’t have to a be painful process, more a gradual transition. It’s really just about making conscious decisions and when it comes to renewing supplies thinking about how the choices you make could be better for the environment. Choosing companies that have the same ethical and environmental commitments as yours will mean you’re halfway towards your goal.

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